Saturday, 24 September 2022

Over the Cusp and Addressing the List

 "Oof!"  I struggled to extricate myself from the surprisingly prickly rose bush I'd fallen into following a - some would say unnecessarily dramatic - flinch due to a passing sparrow (which had since alighted on the fence and was looking at me with an expression of curiosity).  "Oh, it wasn't Beaky after all.  Where has that dratted bird got to?!"
 It had been unnervingly quiet here recently.  Beaky, my terrifying - and extremely annoying - blackbird familiar, had seemingly vanished from the expansive grounds of Hexenhäusli Device, but my survival instinct had yet to dial itself down.  Brushing the muck and bits of rose bush off myself, and sucking on a couple of thorn-inflicted scratches, I headed across the paysho and into my gingerbread mansion to see if the postman postwoman had been.

 "Oh, it's just another cease-and-desist letter from RHS Rosemoor.  They've obviously got the wrong person as I've never even been to-  Hang on..."  But this one contained something that the other three hadn't: a still image seemingly taken from a security camera video - and it didn't paint a pretty picture.  Lurking amongst the azaleas was a witch.  Or, more accurately, someone dressed as a witch.  And rather craply, too, with a parsnip for a nose, and an old measuring funnel for a hat.  "That's not me!  My nose doesn't look like that!"
Well, depending on the light...
Oh, shut up!
 I squinted at the photo for some time until, eventually, I relented with a 'hummmph!' and grudgingly went to fetch my reading glasses in order to make out the details.
 "Aha!" (No, not that one) "Got you!"

  I bundled up all my paraphernalia - including Hat, Cloak, and Broom - leapt carefully got into Car II, and headed southwest.  In what seemed like no time at all (probably because Over the Cusp, Norfolk and Devon are a lot closer to each other as there's no Bedford, Milton Keynes and Swindon to get in the way - Although Oxford was still a bit of a sticking point), I found myself at a cottage's front door which was steadfastly not being opened from the inside despite the doorbell having been rung twice followed by a rather forceful knuckle-numbing knock.  
 "Bugger this.  I'm going in the back way."
No change there, then.
 Picking my way through a garden which was mostly ferns and mud, I came across a small two-storey outbuilding from which a distinctive female voice could be heard.
What's she saying?
 "I don't know?!  I'm using the same pair of ears that you are!"
Well, get closer then!
 As the voice seemed to be coming from the upper level, I sat side-saddle on Broom and levitated up to the only window in order to peer in.  The bottom half of the window, however, was filthy, so I urged Broom higher so I could see through the less grimy top panes. 
Dramatisation: May not have happened (like this, anyway)
 In the dusty garret, a petite figure was talking to herself - or possibly to the box or crate near the edge of the room: 

 "Wake up, Ms Scarlet!"
 Bonk!  "Ooh, my head" Ms Scarlet moaned as she clonked it again on the way up.  "Bloodytwattingdesk...  What's going on?  Who are you?  How did you get in? ...  Mr Devine?!?"
 "None other" I said proffering my hand to help Ms Scarlet to her feet, and then back into her chair, all the while being careful to avoid haphazardly placed gold embellished calligraphy, bottles filled with suspect items, arcane maps, elderly Pot Noodles, a measuring funnel, and a rather shrivelled parsnip.  "As for what's going on, I was about to ask you the same thing!"
 Ms Scarlet had the decency to look mildly ashamed at the photograph I was waving in her face.  "Would you believe a fancy dress party?"
 Before I could answer, a faint clinking of glass caught my ear and I turned towards the sound.  In a cardboard box containing three empty bottles, one of them was rocking slightly having just been disturbed.  I wasn't the only one who heard the sound though...
 A large, irridescent bubble floated through the open top of the window and into the centre of the room where it began to swell and grow.  
 "What's going on?  What's that?"  Ms Scarlet asked.
 "I'm not sure, but I'm having a funny feeling."
 "Oh, that's just Sid sniffing your ankles.  You must have left the door open downstairs and he crept in.  Didn't you, Sid?  Didn't you?!  Who's a good boy?!"
 "Woof" said Sid wagging his tail happily.
 "No, it's not Sid - but you are a good boy, aren't you?" I said crouching to make a fuss of Ms Scarlet's little Jack Russell.  "The feeling's more like déjà vu-"
g l i n g l e     g l i n g l e
P O O F !
 Suddenly the bubble popped and Dinahmow appeared looking around intently.
 "Did I hear a bottle being opened?" she asked fishing a wine glass out of her handbag.
 "Ah, that's what it is." I muttered.
 "Dinah!  What are you-  How did you-?"
 "Oh, I kept hold of this" and she waved a large, sparkling wand in our faces as she peered at Ms Scarlet's list "from that Emerald Elf Shorts debacle two or three years back.  Now, about your list, I have an embarrassing collection of bottles in my bin.  I’d be happy to send them, but you’ll have to speak up sharpish as it’s bin day today - AKA the Day of Great Embarrassment When Dinah’s Bin is Emptied.  Hello, by the way."
 "Oh!" Ms Scarlet managed, more than slightly startled.  "Oh, hello, yes, thank you.  Yes, some more bottles will be lovely!"
 "Oh, good!  Bin Day will be less humiliating this week, then.  I'll get Muriel to retrieve them, give 'em a wash and have them ready to be sent over.  Did you get that, Muriel?" Dinah shouted into the haze where the bubble had popped.  A muffled affirmation came back followed by noises of industrious activity.
 "I just hope people are still interested in my messages in bottles."
 We all looked around in confusion before Dinah poked her head into the bubble haze "Was that you, Muriel?"  The answer was unheard by us, but it must have been 'No' because Dinah straightened up and shook her head.
Actual footage of IDV's faint
 I felt the stirrings of dread in the pit of my stomach, then a flutter of movement in the corner caught my eye.  It was Beaky!
 "Aaaaaaiiiiiiieeeeeeee!" I screamed cried howled, the blood rushing from my head and my legs giving way.
 "My drapes!" Ms Scarlet lamented.
 "Doesn't he scream like a girl?" a new voice observed.


To be continued...


  1. Oh no. We must find something for you to do dear. But what a cute picture of Beaky. You give that bird a hard time really.

    I sure hope this comment goes through. On some blogs today, most really the comments are not showing up. Do they tinker on just the weekends or what?

    1. Cute? Cute?! Can you not see the look of sheer evil in his grumpy little face?!?

      I despair of the workings (or ruinings) of the Google/Blogger oafs. Perhaps I should set Beaky on them...?

  2. More bottle stuff!!!! More fancy dress!!
    But why is everyone descending on Mogwash? There must be a reason. And are we any further along with my Dame hood?
    Never mind, Dinah is a star for being so selfless in providing bottles for my art - maybe Mistress MJ is here to provide her empty Jameson bottles? Maybe I will have enough work for my major retrospective in 2045…..Maybe I will go to the ball!

    1. Mogwash must be a nexus point of some kind. But quite for what, who knows?
      Maybe it's got something to do with your Damehood? Maybe Dinah's empty bottles are a sign of something? Maybe 2045 is not as far off as we think? Maybe we will All go to the ball? Maybe if there's an unexpected story reinitialisation, it will flail around and weave all our maybes into a new story to confuse and bamboozle us even more?!?

  3. Though I notice we have given up on world peace - it was a bit of a tall order to be fair.

    1. Maybe World Peace is on hold while we deal with everything else? And won't we need a willing Miss World to wish for, then usher in World Peace? I don't know any Miss Worlds. Is there a Miss Mogwash, perchance...?

  4. SWEETMARYSUNSHINE! It seems that every time I take a blog pause, y'all get into some sort of mix-up! I mean, it's as if whenever I decide to take garden pictures, the whole world goes topsy turvy. Or maybe that's just me. xoxo

    1. I'm sure it's just a coincidence, dear Savvy. Unless... Are you unconsciously rearranging the fabric of space-time to get us into these Over-the-Cusp-related incompooperies? Are you?!

  5. Don't tell me Beaky ate Muriel?!

    Gosh, I can't wait for the sequel. Especially as I'm longing to see who they've cast as The Very Mistress this time! Is it the long-awaited return to the screen of Janine Duvitski, or is it the spirit of Kate O'Mara come back to haunt us..? Jx

    1. If The Very Mistress at any point says "Ohhh, Donald" or mentions living next door to Victor Meldrew, then we'll have our answer!

    2. At least you didn't suggest Anna Karen.

    3. I don't think those glasses will suit you, Very Mistress?

    4. Anna Karen died in a house fire, I watched Murder, They Hoped last night and Janine Duvitski was in it, playing an assassin, she looked 102, I think Julie T Wallace would be much suited to play the part of MJ or failing that, Stephanie Cole.

    5. The fire was started by her own ciggie after she fell asleep, apparently.

    6. Anonymous1/10/22 16:30

      Harumph at Mitzi's suggestions. Where is the glamour, I ask?!

    7. Don't worry, Very Mistress. We've found a way for you to appear as yourself! Well, your legs anyway...

  6. Come to think of it...Muriel was very quiet this morning as I wrestled with Wordpress...
    But I did get a short, boring post written and published. Not that anyone seems to care...
    Now, about the bottles, Scarlet. I'm afraid I broke the post office scales and by the time the post lady had found a working pen and started was time to shut shop. But she tells me that postage woulkd cost somewhere around the $5,000.00 mark. That's AUD in my money and I'm afraid I just can't manage to send all those bottles.But Jon is in London so he might be a cheaper option.

    1. I care! Especially as "spoon-leaf" was there!

      Ooh, good thinking about using Jon's empties! Although Ms Scarlet may have to sift through to get rid of all the Tetley cans...

    2. Ill look up how much a pantechnicon cost to hire these days, although I fear it may get stuck trying to traverse the muddy lanes of North Devon...

      Tetleys cans? I only ever take that stuff to drink at Pride, as ale is the only booze it's tolerable to drink warm. I certainly wouldn't quaff it at home!


    3. Ah, that explains it. The Tetley can in your hand from that photo of you in the Widow Twankey wig must have stuck in my mind.

    4. Widow Twankey?! WIDOW-FUCKING-TWANKEY?!! You cow!

      That was our immaculate "Georgian-powdered-wig-Pride" theme for the "World Pride that never was" in 2012, I'll have you know! Jx

    5. Heh heh! Sorry. It's just that it was the wig that decimated the budget of our Winter panto last year!

  7. Should I be hiding my empty wine bottles at Ms Scarlet's house, then? I confess that my increase in writing has been by way of an increase in wine consumption. Or is it the other way around? Hmm, let me have a glass a wine and get back to you on that.

    It seems we all survived the death of the of the Queen, no thanks to Bloggers maintenance schemes. I sent Mister Leggy to offer a tiny bouquet on the Queen's coffin because she seemed like a genuinely nice person, but the British media could only muster a collective, "Eek, A spider!" I had nothing to do with the bloke that dropped the paper. Was that you?

    1. I always find that a glass or twelve of something helps the words escape from my brain and onto the page or screen. And I'm Ms Scarlet will welcome her home being treated as a bottle bank :)

      I'm blamed for lots of things - only most of which I've actually done...

  8. You had me a 'gingle, gingle, poof!' But then you really grabbed my attention wih "YES, PLEASE! MORE BOTTLE STUFF!" - for that has come out of moi's pie hole a number of times. Sometimes it refers to gin, but more often something in a tiny brown bottle. Anyway... you've written yourself up so fine... can't wait for the next episode. Kizzes.

    1. Ha ha! I'm glad you can relate, Mr Tonking. That famous phrase was uttered by our dearly departed friend, LẌ (aka Mr Lax).

      The next episode will be at Ms Scarlet's - possibly on Thursday - so stay tuned!

  9. A short update overe at mine...I gave you all a bum steer on a plant ID which I've corrected here

    1. Plant misidentification? I am shocked and appalled, Dinah. Shocked and appalled!

      But not necessarily in that order...


Tickle my fancy, why don't you?